Part I - Rags / Chapter One

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PART I 

Rags 

C H A P T E R 

O N E 

I checked the time on my phone; I still had to wait another fifteen minutes until lunch. I had been sitting through this stupid ceremony for the better part of an hour and my stomach was growling. There was one more kid they had yet to announce, but everyone knew who it was. 

"Finally, but certainly not least," Ms. Bennett, the school principal, said into the microphone. "This next student has continually demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement. Not only has he maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average, but also he is the captain of the basketball team, and is actively involved with the community. I think we can all agree this young man has a bright future ahead of him. It is my distinct honour to present the Duke Elingberg Award and a one hundred thousand dollar scholarship from Harvard University to the student who needs no introduction. Please put your hands together for..." 

I clapped like everyone else, but all I could think about was what I was going to have for lunch. I decided on a pastrami sandwich stacked high with lettuce tomatoes and pickles. By now, Kal-High's poster boy had taken the stage gleaming with pride. Ms. Bennett congratulated him on his achievement - a truly remarkable achievement at that. I had heard Harvard was a really prestigious school, but I had no idea where it was. 

Academics were not my thing. I wasn't really sure what my thing was, but I also wasn't too concerned about it, I figured some kind of opportunity would surely present itself.  

*** 

After I ate lunch, I stood outside with some friends. High overhead something caught the group's attention. It was a lone snowball soaring through the air. We all watched with great interest since based on the trajectory we could guess who the intended target was - Ms. Abraham. The snowball hit the ground right by her feet and disintegrated upon impact. Ms. Abraham did not look too pleased. She looked toward the group and stormed over. 

"Come with me," Ms. Abraham said. 

"Who, me?" I asked in disbelief. "What did I do?" 

"You know what you did, don't play dumb with me." 

"I have no idea what you're talking about," I pleaded with her as she led me back inside the building. "I didn't do anything, Ms. Abraham." It was no use; my defense was ignored. "This is bull-!" I belted out in frustration.  

One of the greatest tragedies in life is the unjust incarceration of a man. I was about to find out firsthand what that would be like. 

"Take a seat and wait here," I was instructed, as Ms. Abraham entered the principal's office. 

Muffled through the wall, I heard the accusations of a smug Social Studies teacher proudly showing off her catch to the leader of the tribe. "I caught Trevor throwing snowballs outside." 

A few moments later, I was called in. I stood at the edge of the principal's desk and waited for instructions to sit. 

"Have a seat," Ms. Bennett said. "Ms. Abraham, thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I'll take it from here."  

Ms. Abraham exited the office, not before giving me one last dirty look.  

"So..." Ms. Bennett began her interrogation. "Ms. Abraham said she saw you throwing snowballs, what do you have to say for yourself?" 

"With all due respect, I think Ms. Abraham is very much mistaken. I saw the whole thing and there is no way she saw who threw the snowball. All I can tell you is that I'm innocent." 

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